Why rankings don’t matter for UW’s Odunze, other top WRs

Apr 16, 2024, 4:13 PM

UW Huskies' Rome Odunze...

Rome Odunze of the UW Huskies catches a touchdown during a 2023 game. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

When the 2024 NFL Draft begins next Thursday, UW Huskies star wide receiver Rome Odunze has a chance to make history.

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Odunze is considered among the most talented players in this year’s draft class and is expected to be an early first-round pick. Just two former Huskies wideouts have been selected in the first round: Reggie Williams in 2004 and John Ross in 2017, both at No. 9 overall. There’s a very real possibility Odunze ends up as the highest UW receiver ever taken, or at least matching Williams and Ross as the ninth pick.

Exactly where Odunze will land is quite the mystery, though. The level of top-end talent in this year’s crop of pass-catchers is a rarity. Odunze, Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. and LSU’s Malik Nabers all have their case for being the top receiver in the draft.

CBS draft analyst Josh Edwards joined Wyman and Bob on Monday to discuss how this year’s top receivers stack up against one another, and why that might not matter at all.

“In any given year, these guys would be the top wide receiver in this draft class,” Edwards said. “It just all happened where they came together in such a tremendous year for the position.”

Edwards said he has Harrison, the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame member Marvin Harrison, ranked as his No. 1 overall prospect regardless of position. Nabers checks in at No. 3 and Odunze fourth. But Edwards projected Nabers as the first wide receiver off the board in his latest mock draft.

“These players are coming out ready to compete in the NFL,” Edwards said. “So at the end of the day, I don’t think it matters so much where each person has these players stacked up. … I think when we look back on this draft class, it’s very possible we’re talking about three of the top 10 wide receivers in the entire NFL.”

Edwards highlighted how each player’s destination could be determined more by fit than talent level. Just about every team with a top-10 pick has a need at receiver in some form, but some have greater needs at quarterback. The teams near the top of the draft that appear to already have their starting quarterback and have needs at receiver are the Arizona Cardinals (fourth pick), the Los Angeles Chargers (fifth pick), the New York Giants (sixth pick) and the Atlanta Falcons (eighth pick). The Chicago Bears could also be thrown into that conversation. The Bears are likely to draft USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick and also have the ninth pick, which is where Edwards projected Odunze to go in his most recent mock draft.

“For a team like the Chargers, you took a big-bodied wide receiver last year with Quentin Johnston. Do you want to go down that path again so early even though Johnson really hasn’t worked out?” Edwards said. “With the Giants, I think Malik Nabers is a really good complement to what they already have on the roster. And then Arizona, looking at their past, you had Larry Fitzgerald, you had AJ Green, do you favor size at that position? I think it really depends on who is going to take that first wide receiver off the board.”

More on the UW Huskies and the NFL Draft

Final AP Mock NFL Draft: Edge with local tie to Seahawks?
Huard: Where Michael Penix is better than other QBs in NFL Draft
Up-and-coming UW Huskies making moves this spring

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Why rankings don’t matter for UW’s Odunze, other top WRs